"CLAs Broadband Rural Britain Campaign forms Rural
 Information Communications Technology (ICT) Watchdog"

The Country Land and Business Association today unveils its new Rural ICT
Watchdog. This has been born out of the successful 6 month CLA campaign to
'Broadband Rural Britain'. The CLA campaign had twin objectives: pushing for
the faster roll out of affordable broadband (faster internet access) in
rural areas and seeking greater openness and transparency from the
infrastructure providers (such as BT). The CLA has made it clear that rural
businesses must enjoy the same access to affordable broadband as urban
businesses, otherwise the rural economy will be unable to compete in today's
technology driven markets,

The CLA Campaigns Unit will be drawing a line under the main thrust of the
Broadband Campaign this week, and will now be looking to achieve the
necessary, crucial policy objectives under the newly established "CLA Rural
ICT Watchdog".

Dr Charles Trotman, CLAs Rural Economy Adviser comments:-

"The CLA have been the only rural organisation that has been discussing the
matter of Broadband with Government and the infrastructure providers, and
the Regional Development Agencies.  It is vital therefore that our policy
objectives are delivered - and the ICT Watchdog is the framework in which to
achieve them."

The Rural ICT Watchdog has a five point plan:-

* RIBA (Rural Infrastructure Boundaries Abolished) -  CLAs 'PPP'
(Public-Private-Partnership) initiative which was announced by Charles
Trotman at the DTi Broadband conference and well received. The idea is to
allow the private sector to piggy back onto the infrastructure that the
public sector will be putting in for all Schools, hospitals and Doctors
* Call for a professional Industry standard/quality insurance for IT
* Monitor and feedback from the CLA's involvement in the Broadband
Stakeholders Group
* Monitor and feedback from the DEFRA Taskforce
* Combined Regional Development Agencies/CLA Roadshows: a series of
regional seminars to help CLA members, particularly rural businesses with IT
problems and solutions. The CLA North West office is already developing this
with the North West RDA.

Editors Notes:

For more information about the Watchdog:
Contacts: Pippa Kidson-Trigg/Charles Trotman 020 7 235 0511
For more information about the CLAs Campaigns: